Visions of Home

Virginia Kyanite Mine

I often have a hard time explaining where I’m from. This is not because I have moved around or live out-of-state. In many cases, I live only an hour or so from those who ask. I can’t blame anyone for not knowing where Dillwyn is on the map- it’s a “one-light” town with a population…

Revitalizing Virginia’s Coalfield

  The evolving connections between research institutions like Virginia Tech and regional economic development organizations like the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) are essential partnerships needed to make informed decision about the ever-changing economy due to their unique research abilities. VCEDA is an organization which helps bring more jobs to the Southwest Workforce Development…

Downtowns and Revitalization Strategies

A community’s downtown is the face it presents to the world. It is a reflection of community’s image, pride, and prosperity. It is also regarded as the historic core of the community. A vibrant downtown—or the lack of one—affects the community’s ability to attract and retain residents, businesses and institutions, jobs, and investments that enable…

Workforce Revitalization with Goodwill

Yesterday, the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development was invited to attend Goodwill Industries of the Valleys annual giving breakfast, and I was lucky enough to attend. Goodwill provides the community a variety of services from their donation centers and stores to their work and training services to provide people with the training they need…

Arts and Appalachia

In small towns economic diversification and revitalization is a challenging non-linear process. Due to losing their primary economic base (e.g. extractive industries, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.), many rural communities in Appalachia are confronting their youth leaving home never to return while others are seeing a large non-labor force enter the region, retirees. This shift has exacerbated…

Risks and Rewards of Automation

The risks and rewards of automation have been a major element in a year-long studio course I am taking this semester. While technology has the capability to mitigate global warming, lengthen and improve our lives, and enable the global south to participate in the ever-expanding world economy, there are several implications that keep me up…